By Hal McCoy
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, sitting on the edge of my seat at the end of most Cincinnati Reds games, a change from recent season when I fell asleep by the seventh inning.
—Pete Rose is back in baseball. . .well sort of.
Rose has signed on with UptickTrade, a Mexican outfit that sells betting selections and The Hit King is their baseball consultant. He will provide subscribers with daily baseball picks.
Rose’s slogan: “Nobody alive on earth knows more about baseball than I do.” And that is probably the truth.
When he was introduced on a conference call, a company executive called Rose the greatest baseball player who ever lived. And Rose quickly said:
“Let me correct something on that opening statement. Babe Ruth was the greatest baseball player ever. OK? So don’t call me the greatest baseball player. I probably know more about baseball than anybody. But Babe Ruth was the man. I didn’t get to meet Babe. I wish I had. He was baseball, he made baseball, he sold baseball.”
So what does Rose think about the 2021 Cincinnati Reds?
“They have one of the better offenses,” he said. “That showed the first week of the season when they scored more runs than the 1976 Reds did when we won the World Series by sweeping the Yankees.
“They have really good players,” he added. “But every team has the same problem and that’s pitching. When you don’t sign a Trevor Bauer it is going to hurt you somewhat. It’s not easy for a team to fill-in for a guy who won the Cy Young.
“If they get the pitching they think they have, I know the guys they have in the lineup will hit. It’s a long season, but I expect in that division for the Cincinnati Reds to really compete. I think they are better than St. Louis, better than Chicago and better than Milwaukee. They should have a good year, but it is going to boil down to pitching.”
—QUOTE: Pete Rose slogan for UpickTrade.com: “There is nobody alive on this earth who knows baseball more than I do.
—This time baseball commissioner Rob Manfred and his Merry Men of Mayhem are completely off their rockers.
They are moving back the pitching mound a foot, to 61 feet, 6 inches. Using the independent Atlantic League, their baseball experimental laboratory, the backed-up mound will be used in the second half of the season.
Now what is this going to do to poor pitchers once they have to go back to 60 feet, 6 inches in another league?
All together now: “Hey, Robby, just leave the game alone. And get off my lawn.”
—What Manfred & The Magnificent Manglers are doing to baseball is affecting many, including former star outfielder Gary Sheffield, who left the game with 509 home runs, 467 doubles and 1,676 RBI.
“ I don’t watch it,” said Sheffield. “Baseball was exciting] when I was playing. They implemented all these rules now and they’ve changed the game so much.
“These guys can go out there and strike out 180, 190 times, and it’s OK,” he added. “I see a pop-up player that everybody gravitates to and he’s the face of the team, the face of the city and he has 100 strikeouts in April.” (During a 23-year career, the free-swinging, hard-swinging Sheffield never struck out more than 83 times in a season and the 83 came in his next-to-last season.)
—During a recent series, Milwaukee Brewers pitchers plunked Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras three times. So Cubs pitcher Ryan Tepera threw a pitch behind Brewers pitcher Brandon Woodruff. Because he was providing Contreras his version of a protection agency, Tepera was suspended three games.
And I love what Tepera said about it.
“It was just a message that we’d had enough,” he said. “To be blunt, today’s game of baseball has become so soft. Back in the day, matters were settled on the field. . .one of the many unwritten rules that have changed over time.”
Bob Gibson, Don Drysdale and Juan Marichal agree wholeheartedly.
—Don’t write Joey Votto’s epitaph just yet. Votto’s recent surge of three home runs in five games and a 7 for 11 spurt, is probably a hint of what’s to come. Votto is well-protected because he is surrounded by high-octane hitters. He had three of the Reds’ six hits off Cleveland Cy Young winner Shane Bieber Sunday.
Something NBA star Steph Curry said during his recent scoring rampage reminded me of Votto. Said Curry, “I have a lot to accomplish and nothing to prove.”
—As of this moment, there are 1,389 Division I basketball players in the transfer portal. In effect, every college player is a free agent at all times. What chaos.
Remember the old TV show,, ‘Have Gun, Will Travel,’ starring Richard Boone. In college basketball, it is ‘Have Jump Shot, Will Travel.’
—So nice to see that money is not always an all-driving force. Indiana University offered Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens a seven-year, $70 million deal to coach the Hoosiers. He said no. IU is trying to replace Archie Miller, the former University of Dayton coach that IU swept out the door.
It is evident that folks in Bloomington, Ind., aren’t going to be happy until they find another Bobby Knight. And good luck with that. They only made one like that guy and then burned the mold.
—QUOTE: From Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens: “As a coach one of the things we have to exude is the ability to move on regardless of the result.” (The results have been pretty good in Boston, so he isn’t moving on to Bloomington.)
—If you are in a room full of former Cincinnati Reds players and yell, “Hey, Jeff,” here are the guys who will answer, “What?” — Jeff Brantley, Jeff Shaw, Jeff Reardon, Jeff Reed, Jeff Treadway, Jeff Gray, Jeff Jones and Jeff Hammonds.
—Which TV commercial makes you head for the head quicker, the lady holding the cat who tells her kid to get a second band-aid or the guy selling wet teddy bears. For me, an equal opportunity guy, I dislike them both.